Somewhere in a considerably ulu part of Singapore, a man owns the largest collection of Barbie dolls in Asia.
Jian Yang describes himself as a grown up who still loves playing with his toys. With over 10,000 dolls sprawled all over the place, it was truly a marvel to step into his house.
The first Barbie doll he ever received was in 1984, when he was just four years old, and it was the workout Barbie, rocking that 1980s activewear. Apparently the doll was meant as a present for his sister for Christmas, but he got to the tree first.
He’s somehow managed to keep the doll in pristine condition for over 30 years! This may not mean much anymore in a world where iPads and Xboxes reign supreme, but to a collector, condition is everything.
There’s been a big shift over the years in the types of toys that kids choose to play with – in this digital age, the production of toys has definitely slowed. I mean, just take a look at the recent case of Toys“R”Us filing for bankruptcy!
Jian however, is one individual who’s still passionate about toys.
He told us that Barbie is one of the few toy series that has been in constant production and popularity since 1959. Most toy trends come and go, but not Barbie.
These plastic dolls have appealed to consumers for a long, long time, and by the looks of things, are here to stay.
Collecting is one thing, but Jian actually STILL plays with his dolls! They’re not just kept on the shelves for show. He plays with them in more advanced ways though; we’re talking face sculpting and the creation of special hairdos for the dolls.
When he goes abroad, he even brings a few Barbie dolls along with him. He then makes special clothing for those dolls. His most recent creation: a mini dress made out of toilet paper. A+ for creativity.
His collection is so massive that it’s impossible to talk about them all. When I was in his “museum”, I saw Marilyn Monroe dolls, an Obama doll, and remember that Ken doll which appeared in the Toy Story 3 film? He has that doll too.
The most expensive doll in his collection is one that he got for a whopping S$3600. Decked out in Swarovski crystals, it’s the only one of its kind in the world.
Besides Barbie dolls, Jian also collects other toys like Transformers. Now, this I can relate to. I loved Transformers when I was young as well. Those robots were so cool!
It’s nice to see that there’s someone out there who has managed to keep his passion alive while growing up. I still remember that great feeling of going to the toy store and picking up a brand new toy in a box, and then excitedly ripping that box open back home.
Imagine still getting that feeling at Jian’s age!
How exactly does he plan to contain all that excitement? Well, apparently he’s thinking of buying a warehouse in the future to store his collection. He says that only then, will his house look more like a house, and less like a museum of sorts.
But for now, he still has to live with 10,000 other roommates, and I don’t think he’s complaining.